Giving Tuesday 2023 – We Did It!

UPDATE (Dec. 20, 2023)

DEUCE Community is humbled by the love and support from the community for our Giving Tuesday Housing Campaign.
We started this campaign in what we felt was a Hail Mary effort to expand our housing services for men like Joseph Bruner who are actively taking on leadership and fighting for another shot at life.

63 Donors came together to give $27,819.02.

This will cover a huge chunk of housing expenses for 2024 and allow us to open up 4 additional beds to men in our programs.
The fundraiser culminated in a community barbeque for supporters and program graduates at the gym. The event was led and orchestrated by Jose Bojorquez, program graduate and the only paid employee of DEUCE Community. Watching Jose shine in leadership here was a special moment for me and the organization.
The success of this fundraiser is a giant win that we did not believe possible. However, because the community believed in us, it happened.

Together, we are giving men transitioning out of prison and off the streets a shot at overcoming the gap between where they stand today and where they want to be tomorrow.

A Problem & An Ask

This Giving Tuesday we are asking you to make a difference by giving intentionally to DEUCE Community.

We will use all of the money raised to bolster our most impactful program, housing, which recently took a hard hit.

In September, due to the property we were living in being torn down, we were forced to move quickly out of our housing in Mar Vista. A lack of funds meant that we had to move to a smaller space farther from the gym, where most of our participants study and intern.

Moving to the smaller space in La Cienega Heights, we were forced to close our floating bed and cut our housing capacity down to 50% of what it was in Mar Vista. This led to some very tough calls where we had to turn away qualified candidates from being housed.  We also had to pause recurring 12-step meetings at the house.

From November 28th through December 16th we are hoping to raise $10,000, which will allow us to move back to a larger home on the Westside where the impact we are able to have will be much greater. Immediately, we will be able to reinstate a floating bed for men getting out of the system who need an immediate place to stay as well as 12-step meetings in the house. Within 3 months, we hope to be back at full capacity for housing which would make stories like Joe’s possible (scroll down to read Joseph's story).

You can help by giving below.

A Proven Model

Joseph Bruner was the reason we decided to integrate housing into DEUCE Community.

He was a rising star in our program, everyone was sure that he’d be successful upon release and take a leadership role at the gym. However, when Joseph was paroled, he was denied housing through another program. He was forced to pay rent in a sober living in South Central. While moving in and changing his bedding, he uncovered a used syringe. The house was basically a front for predatory individuals to collect money from parolees. Drug use and crime were rampant at the house, but Joseph was afraid to tell us about it.

Predictably, he relapsed and returned to prison on a new case. Because of Joseph’s progress and mindset before staying at the sober living, our hypothesis was that if we could replace the environment to which he was paroled, we could change the outcome.

When Joseph was released from prison on his last term, we drove to Central California to pick him up. He was immediately paired with a mentor and given a clean bed. His first night home we threw a dinner celebrating his return.

His transition has not been without its rough spots, but the potential we saw in Joe is manifesting. Less than six months after release, he took over full control of the Breath and Exposure program at DEUCE Gym and is currently poised to take on a paid role as Housing manager for the nonprofit. He just spent Thanksgiving with his children for the first time in 15 years.

Joseph has been to prison 6 times, serving a cumulative 16 1/2 years. He says that he had never known unconditional support until entering the program at DEUCE. He credits this along with the accountability and behavior modeling in our housing program for the success he has had since his last release.

The truth is that housing played a small but pivotal role in Joseph’s transformation. The work was and is his to do. His ownership of that is what has given him a new life with unlimited upside.